There was a fountain that I sat near, drinking a beer, and just sitting. It was a sad fountain. It possessed three levels, each smaller and taller than the one below it. Statues of men and women and children were displayed throughout the fountain. They were all lost in deep thought, seemingly reliving the mistakes they had made the night before – that’s how I saw it.
One of the statues, a gargantuan man, looked as if he was standing in the shower, glaring into the past, remembering the horrible, horrible things he’d done. The nostalgic look inward caused his eyes to whither with hazy emptiness as new details made themselves known, slowly and one by one. The water stream from the showerhead sprayed down on his head incessantly, making breaths wet and sometimes hard to attain. A hand rested on top of his head, frozen, mid-shampoo. He hadn’t meant to keep it there like that, but as he began to recount the night prior the hand forgot its duty and stopped in its tracks. I knew the look. I knew the hand.
We ate a lot of food last night, or I believe it was last night. The nights are starting to blur together. We did eat fried chicken and French fries at 4am. I also drank a Sazerac around that time. It’s a whiskey drink with a touch of vermouth and absinthe. I’m not sure why I ordered it. It was good and southern and French, and the place stayed open all night. Near impossible not to turn a profit with a 24-hour liquor license. I’d like to have one someday.
There was kangaroo steak at one point, earlier in the day at the Napier Hotel – a rundown place that used to serve as a brothel and gambling den before it cleaned up its act and stuck exclusively to cold beer and kangaroo. The “roo”, as it’s called, was surprisingly delicious. I imagined it would be tough and gamey, but it was cooked expertly and proved incredibly appetizing.
I learned several interesting things about kangaroos that night. Conversation tends to flow freely about the animal one is cutting up with fork and knife before them for the first time.
Kangaroos possess extraordinary breeding qualities, which likely correlates to their widespread occupation of the red island of Australia. When baby kangaroos, called Joeys, are born they are no larger than an egg, and are shot directly and effortlessly into the mother’s pouch, where they attach to the teat and feed until sizeable enough to leave the pouch. She doesn’t even have to stop hopping to give birth, they say.
Mother kangaroos also possess a rare ability to pause their pregnancy, and thus the development of the embryo, until their pouch becomes vacant of the previous Joey. Kangaroos are permanently pregnant, mating immediately after one Joey is born. The ability to pause the development of an embryo is to ensure a mother’s pouch is open for the incoming Joey – kangaroos only hold one Joey in pouch at a time.
Aside from humans, kangaroos have no true predators. That being said, every human I’ve met has a story about a dad, uncle, cousin, or brother either killing, fighting, or wrestling a kangaroo. They try to tear your chest out, apparently, and occasionally they’ll lean back onto their tails and use their feet to punt an opponent.
“Any full-grown bloke would be okay against a roo,” said one of my new Australian friends when asked if a kangaroo attack could be fatal. “A smaller girl might be in trouble, though…but like one person every decade is killed by a kangaroo, maybe,” he declared.
Everyone drives trucks equipped with massive “roo bars” on the grill. You can imagine why, I’m sure.
The Australian government will periodically initiate kangaroo culls with trucks and helicopters.
“You’re mad, ya’ damn bastard.” This phrase stuck to our heads like the hand of that giant statue of a man in the fountain mentioned earlier. “You’re mad, ya’ damn bastard.”
It’s a line from a horrifying movie about Australia called Wake in Fright. I recommend it. Every kangaroo killed in the movie was actually killed, something that could never happen today. Warning: During the making of this movie animals were harmed.
Sometime in between the early morning fried chicken and the kangaroo steak, we ate a burger with an egg in it. It was from a place called Danny’s Burgers. No gimmicks or fancy sauces or schemes, just good Australian beef and fresh ingredients. There is a biker gang, similar to our Hell’s Angels, that regulars Danny’s spot.
For breakfast, a late one, we ate arepas and empanadas. Beef and chicken. As I’m writing this now, all that beef and chicken and kangaroo and burger and beer sit inside my gut, its effects spreading throughout my body, pulling it deeper and deeper into a sort of coma, which will be followed by strange dreams of a fight I get into with Kevin Garnett because I won’t allow him to tattoo my entire right leg. The dream, however, ended with him hugging me. I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t think it can be good.
That dream won’t happen until a bit later, though. For now, I’m going to drink this cosmopolitan that someone just ordered me. Bourgeoisie.
For the record, I haven’t seen one kangaroo since I’ve been here.
More later, as always.